School is critical for kids’ development and future success. The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for families, with schools closed and students separated from their classmates and friends. As we gradually and safely restart our economy, parents should be able to return to work and trust that their children are learning in a healthy environment.
That is why the Government of Canada is working to support Ontario in its efforts to ensure a safe return to school and protect the health of students and staff.
The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, today announced up to $763.34 million in support for Ontario through the Safe Return to Class Fund. This will provide the funding they need, as they work alongside local school boards to ensure the safety of students and staff members throughout the school year. For example, the Fund will help Ontario by supporting adapted learning spaces, improved air ventilation, increased hand sanitization and hygiene, and purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
As we reopen our schools and restart our economy, the Government of Canada will continue to take leadership and work together with provincial and territorial partners to protect the health and safety of all Canadians.
“As a former teacher and a parent, I know first-hand the importance of school for kids’ social development and mental well-being, not to mention their ability to learn. The return to school is also an important step to restart our economy and get parents back to work while not worrying about the health of their children. The Government of Canada will remain a close partner to provinces, territories, and First Nations as we work together to keep children, families, and all Canadians safe and healthy during this difficult time.”
– The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
“Parents deserve a government that prioritizes the well-being of their children. Teachers have the right to work in safe conditions. And the health of Canadian youth must remain a vital concern for all of us. While education is not a federal area of jurisdiction, COVID-19 continues to impact our communities and unconventional policy response are required to confront it. Today’s announcement is a clear sign of how much the federal government cares about assisting families, teachers and students. We will continue to be there for Canadians throughout this challenging time.”
– Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre
“As a parent myself, I know these past few months have been hard on parents who may be anxious sending their kids back to school. This announcement and investment provides support to make sure classrooms, students and teachers have the supplies they need so everyone is safe. Schools are vital to society, not just because they support learning but they also provide child care for families. The Safe Return to Class Fund will help parents return to work.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Funding will be provided to Ontario in two instalments, with a first disbursement in Fall 2020 and additional funding available for early 2021, to ensure that Ontario have support for the whole school year.
The funding by province and territory will be allocated based on the number of children aged between 4 and 18 years old, with a $2 million base amount provided to each jurisdiction.
Maximum total allocation by province and territory:
- Alberta: $262.84 million
- British Columbia: $242.36 million
- Manitoba: $85.41 million
- New Brunswick: $39.79 million
- Newfoundland and Labrador: $26.18 million
- Northwest Territories: $4.85 million
- Nova Scotia: $47.88 million
- Nunavut: $5.75 million
- Ontario: $763.34 million
- Prince Edward Island: $10.39 million
- Quebec: $432.15 million
- Saskatchewan: $74.90 million
- Yukon: $4.16 million
The Safe Return to Class Fund is in addition to the more than $19 billion previously announced for the Safe Restart Agreement to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies. This agreement included funding to increase testing and contact tracing of the virus, support vulnerable Canadians, ensure the availability of safe child care, and provide income support for people who do not have paid sick leave so all Canadians can stay healthy.